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Ms. Ruby Butler has always loved to cook and dreamed for a long time about opening her own restaurant. Motivated by the drive to make “everything taste very good,” and based on the conviction that anything worth doing is worth doing well, Ms. Ruby realized her dream in 2004 when Ruby’s Kitchen officially opened.
Over the past 16 years, Ruby’s Kitchen has grown steadily, supported by a faithful regular clientele Ms. Ruby says she “lured in” with her homemade soul food—meats, sides, and legendary peach cobbler. Among those regulars are Reverend and Mrs. Willis from St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church, pillars of the Englewood neighborhood. It was Mrs. Willis who told Ms. Ruby about the opportunity for Small Business Relief Grants from LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) and Verizon.
To date, Verizon has committed $7.5 million for LISC to award grants up to $10,000 to hundreds of small businesses across the country, with an emphasis on women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses in underserved zip codes. The public-private partnership between Verizon and LISC shows the power of private capital combined with LISC’s four decades of expertise as a community development financial institution in directing critical funding where it can do the most good. The small business relief grant is part of LISC’s effort to raise $100 million for its COVID response.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Ruby’s Kitchen, just as it has so many small businesses. Fewer customers are coming in, especially as many of Ms. Ruby’s regulars are older and are understandably cautious about venturing into the community. Fixed costs like rent, however, haven’t changed. The relief grant will help cover some of these expenses until business rebounds.
As a woman of color, Ms. Ruby has overcome so many obstacles to realize her dream of owning her own restaurant. Her story is inspirational and her food is deserving of its local fame—two excellent reasons to give Ruby’s Kitchen a try! The restaurant is currently open for carryout from 2-7pm on Tuesday and 12-7pm Thursday through Saturday by calling (419) 578-5388. You can view the menu on Facebook. Ms. Ruby is also accepting applications for waitstaff and cashiers—call for more information.
To learn more about LISC’s Rapid Relief & Resiliency Fund—including additional small business opportunities—or to donate to the Fund, visit lisc.org.